It is a great joy to be among the parish of St. Paul’s within the Walls, Rome. The Gospel that was just read to us was traditionally used on Maundy Thursday when Jesus instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. And the Latin “mandatum novum” or a “new commandment” is where the word Maundy comes from — a kind of contraction. “A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you.” It is rather strange to be ordered to love. What does this mean?
What a wonderful treat it is to be back in Munich at the Church of the Ascension, on a glorious day when we are going to baptize four people and celebrate the sacraments. My name is Pierre Whalon, and I am bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, of which Ascension is one of the crown jewels. There are many little children in the room, so before I begin my sermon, I would like to share a story. When my daughter was about two years old, I was a priest at a parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. One of our best friends there -- a Roman Catholic priest –had just lost his mother.